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SSP Daily Digest: 5/4 (Morning Edition)

by: DavidNYC

Tue May 04, 2010 at 7:03 AM EDT

An all-House digest today - and it's an hour earlier than usual! Remember, today is primary day in IN, NC & OH, so be sure to check out SSP's handy election guide.

  • AL-07: Attorney Terri Sewell, who is probably the candidate ideologically closest to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, is going up with a TV ad buy in Montgomery and Birmingham which will stay up through the primary (which is a month from now). No word on the size of the buy, though.
  • CT-02: Republicans are courting former television news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh to run against Rep. Joe Courtney, who has luckily skated by without much in the way of opposition this cycle. Peckinpaugh says she's considering it. She was most recently seen shilling for a now-defunct mortgage company in deceptive, TV news-like ads, clearly trading on her reputation as a newsreader. The company, Lend America, shut down in December after it was placed under federal investigation.
  • FL-12: After screwing up the establishment's efforts to clear the GOP primary field for ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross by jumping into the race, Polk County Comm'r Randy Wilkinson is bidding adieu to the Republican Party. Instead, he's going to run as the Tea Party candidate (there's an actual Tea Party in Florida, just like the Whigs). Wilkinson has raised very little money - his FEC reports are a mess, and he seems to like filing them in hand-written form, so he doesn't even appear in their electronic database.
  • FL-21: What a bummer - zero Dems filed in the open 21st CD, which means that Mario Diaz-Balart will automatically inherit his brother Lincoln's seat. I can't really blame folks too much, though, as Florida has especially onerous ballot access requirements. If you don't petition on, you have to pay a filing fee, which is an insane $10,000+.
  • HI-01: The DCCC threw down another $70K for negative ads against Charles Djou.
  • ID-01, OH-15: We mentioned the other day that GOPer Steve Stivers, busy with a rematch against Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, said he favors repealing the 17th amendment - the one which gives citizens the right to vote for their senators (rather than having them be appointed by state legislatures). Well, after taking a lot of much-deserved heat, he's backed off that fantasy. But his would-be colleague, Vaughn Ward, is taking up the mantle. Ward, running against Rep. Walt Minnick in ID-01, offered a rationale worthy of Miss Teen South Carolina, saying "When you look at how come state's rights have been so abrogated, it's because of things like the 17th Amendment that has taken away those rights from our states." Yuh huh. Exactly.
  • IL-08: Just click the link and read about the greatest political implosion of the entire cycle. (Thankfully, it's the bad guys.) More here, here, and here.
  • KS-03: Along with Joe Garcia (see yesterday's morning digest), the DCCC added another candidate to their Red to Blue list, Stephene Moore, who is the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore.
  • MA-10: State Rep. Jeff Perry, running for Bill Delahunt's open seat, scored an endorsement from ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney. Perry, who was also previously endorsed by Sen. Scott Brown, has a primary against ex-state Treasurer Joe Malone. Malone has some baggage-related cooties, which probably explains Perry's run of good fortune.
  • MD-01 (PDF): Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Americans for Prosperity (R) (4/25-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
  • Frank Kratovil (D-inc): 36
    Andy Harris (R): 39
    Richard Davis (L): 6
    Other: 1
    Undecided: 18
    (MoE: ±4.9%)

    Two things about this poll: First off, in contravention of appropriate practice, POS asked all kinds of axe-grindy issue questions ("Gov. O'Malley raised taxes by $1.3 billion") before getting to the horserace question. This does damage to POS's reputation as a supposedly respectable pollster. Secondly, the weird thing is that Harris switched pollsters - and his last survey, from the Tarrance Group back in November, had him up by a whopping 52-39. While it's not a proper trendline, you gotta wonder - is Harris slipping? Or is he getting snowed by his various pollsters? (Update: D'oh! Our mistake -- this poll was not done for Harris, but actually the right-wing consortium of douches known as the Americans for Prosperity.)

  • MI-01: Dem state Rep. Joel Sheltrown, who got into the race to replace Bart Stupak just a few weeks ago, is bowing out.
  • MI-09: Self-funder Gene Goodman is dropping out of the race to take on Rep. Gary Peters, despite having loaned his campaign $450K. That leaves ex-state Rep. Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski and former Oakland County GOP Chair Paul Welday in the running, both of whom have had unimpressive fundraising - and in fact, Rocky is yet another victim (albeit a more minor one) of Base Connect.
  • Meanwhile, we missed a Welday internal poll from a couple of weeks ago (taken by Mitchell Research & Communications), which had Peters leading by just 44-43. The poll sampled just 300 LVs, though, and according to the Hotline, was in the field at two discontiguous times. Peters' camp attacked the poll's sample composition, but Steve Mitchell says he used the same methodology as he did in September of 2008, when (according to the article), " he declared Peters was going to defeat Joe Knollenberg." Is this hindsight proving to be 20/20? Mitchell's poll from back then had the race tied.

  • NY-13: Global Strategy Group (D) for Mike McMahon (4/7-11, likely voters, no trendlines):
  • Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
    Mike Allegretti (R): 24
    Undecided: 20

    Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
    Mike Grimm (R): 23
    Undecided: 21
    (MoE: ±4.9%)

  • OH-09: Dem Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who is not really on anyone's radar in terms of having a competitive race, is nonetheless facing a moneybags challenger. Former Food Town CEO Rich Iott just dumped $319,000 into his campaign. Kaptur has over a million on hand, and the 9th CD voted 62% for Obama and 58% for Kerry.
  • PA-12: Anzalone-Liszt (D) for the DCCC (4/27-29, likely voters, no trendlines):
  • Mark Critz (D): 43
    Tim Burns (R): 41
    (MoE: ±4.9%)

  • TN-08: A couple of disgusting low-lifes running for TN-08, Ron Kirkland and Randy Smith, had this delightful exchange at a candidate forum:
  • Kirkland, of Jackson, referred to his Army training during the Vietnam War and said: "I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can't describe to you."

    Smith, a chef from Mercer who served in the Navy during the Gulf War, said: "I definitely wouldn't want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said."

    These sick bastards have serious issues.

  • SD-AL: Heh - GOP state Rep. Kristi Noem has a biographical spot up on the air, talking about her return to her family farm after her father's death. The only problem is that she shot the ad in Texas - which became apparent given that the backdrop (a grove of leafy green trees) is something you can't really find in North South Dakota this time of year. Reminds me of when Bob Schaffer ran an ad pretending that Alaska's Mount McKinley was actually Colorado's famous Pikes Peak while running for CO-Sen in 2008.
  • Discuss :: (31 Comments)

    SSP Daily Digest: 2/11

    by: Crisitunity

    Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 4:21 PM EST

    CA-Sen: The latest in palace intrigue in California supposes that Meg Whitman managed to pave the way for Tom Campbell's exit from the gubernatorial race and move to the Senate race, culminating in a private appeal to Campbell from Arnold Schwarzenegger to switch (using a soft touch, instead of the alleged sledgehammer that the Steve Poizner camp accuses Whitman's camp of wielding). Campbell says no, he made the decision all on his own (helped along by some internal polling, no doubt).

    FL-Sen: Continuing his role as right-wing kingmaker, or rainmaker, or rainy kingmaker, Jim DeMint orchestrated a moneybomb over recent days for upstart Florida candidate Marco Rubio that pulled in over $140K.

    SC-Sen: Attorney Chad McGowan, as close as the Dems have to a leading candidate to take on Jim DeMint this year, ended his campaign, citing family demands. It's possible, though, that McGowan's exit may lead to a slight upgrade (although not likely the kind that puts the race into play): Charleston Co. Commissioner Vic Rawl is now contemplating making the race, and self-financing Mullins McLeod is weighing a switch over from the gubernatorial bid where he's made little headway in a better-defined Democratic field.

    TX-Sen: It's looking less and less likely that the Texas Senate special election is ever going to happen (most likely, Kay Bailey Hutchison will wind up serving out the rest of her term in ignominy). If she does resign at some point, though, it doesn't look too promising for Democrats. PPP tested a generic ballot on the race, with Generic Republican winning 53-38. Former comptroller John Sharp may be in position to overperform Generic D a bit, but it'd still be an uphill climb. For one thing, he'd be running against Barack Obama's very low 33/61 approval in Texas.

    CT-Gov: Former state House speaker Jim Amann ended his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination today. That he was even in the race may be news to most Connecticut residents, given his low-single-digits support in recent polling, and Ned Lamont and ex-Stamford mayor Dan Malloy gobbling up most of the oxygen.

    MI-Gov: In the wake of Denise Ilitch's surprising decision to stand down, a different Democrat got into the gubernatorial field: former state treasurer (from the 1980s) Bob Bowman. He's been out of state for a long time, most recently as the CEO of major league baseball's interactive media wing, but if he's willing to self-finance, he could be an interesting wildcard here.

    WI-Gov: Details are sketchy, but a Democratic internal poll by the Mellman Group finds a very tight gubernatorial race, quite in line with what other pollsters have seen. Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett leads Republican Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker 40-39. There's no word on a Barrett/Mark Neumann matchup.

    AL-05: Another catastrophic success for the NRCC, as they blasted their newest member with some friendly fire. Pete Sessions sent out a fundraising letter to AL-05 voters letting them know that their "Democrat in Congress has been falling in line with Nancy Pelosi's destructive liberal agenda.." One small problem: Parker Griffith is now, quite famously, a Republican.

    AR-01: Unlike the deeply troublesome KS-03 and LA-03, thanks to their deep Arkansas bench, Democrats don't seem to be having trouble finding a replacement to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Marion Berry. The latest to step up is state Sen. Steve Bryles, who represents Blytheville in this mostly-rural district's northeast corner.

    AZ-03: It looks like a big Democratic name may be interested in tackling the GOP-leaning open seat left behind by retiring Rep. John Shadegg, after all. Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon has opened up an exploratory committee to consider a run, and has set a three or four-week timetable for deciding. Democratic attorney Jon Hulburd is already running and has had some fundraising success as well, so it seems unlikely he'd get out of the way for the more conservative Gordon.

    CA-19: An internal poll by POS offered by state Sen. Jeff Denham shows the Republican candidate with a solid lead over his carpetbagging neighbor, ex-Rep. Richard Pombo. Denham leads Pombo 28-12 in the GOP primary, and that expands to 38-11 when voters were informed that outgoing Rep. George Radanovich has endorsed Denham.

    CA-44: Yet another internal poll, this one from Tulchin and released by Democratic challenger Bill Hedrick, who came within a few thousand votes of upsetting Rep. Ken Calvert in 2008. Calvert has lousy re-elects - 38% say 'yes' while 41% say someone else - but Calvert leads a head-to-head against Hedrick, 49-35.

    FL-21, FL-25: New names are already surfacing for potential candidates in the 25th, where Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is creating an open seat by leaving for the somewhat safer 21st, vacated by his retiring brother, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. One name moving to the forefront is termed-out Republican state Sen. Majority leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla. However, it sounds like Mario plans to endorse state Rep. David Rivera (who's currently running for state Senate) instead. Two other possible GOP names include state Sen. Alex Villalobos, and Carlos Curbelo, currently an aide to Sen. George LeMieux. Joe Garcia, who came close to taking out Mario in 2008, seems to be the Dems' preferred candidate (although he previously ruled out a re-run, he might reconsider with an open seat).

    IA-01: Republicans landed Some Dude to run against Rep. Bruce Braley in the Dem-leaning 1st, a district which hasn't been on anyone's radar so far: insurance salesman Brian Cook. The NRCC had previously touted businessman Rod Blum for the race, but he says he's leaning against a bid.

    MA-10: Yet one more internal poll, and this one's a little alarming for Democratic Rep. Bill Delahunt, who nobody thought of as a target until his district went strongly for Scott Brown in the Senate special election. The McLaughlin poll on behalf of Republican former state treasurer Joe Malone gives Malone a 37-34 lead over Delahunt among likely voters. Delahunt is still in positive territory, approval-wise, at 44/33.

    MS-01: Maybe this is the oppo that insiders said would sink Fox News pundit Angela McGlowan's House bid before it got out of the gate. In a radio interview last year, she suggested that gun owners should include an inventory of their guns on their federal tax forms, and in defending the idea went on to talk about "crazies... stockpiling guns." Starting out in a probably gun-loving district with a proposal that wouldn't pass muster among House Democrats, and framing it with decidedly lefty-sounding language... well, that's probably a deal-breaker.

    NC-08: Free advice to candidates, not just Democrats but anyone: don't waste time worrying about what people are saying in the anonymous comments section of blogs. (And, yes, I realize the irony of that coming from an pseudonymous blogger.) But most of all, don't actually get so hot under the collar that you weigh in in the comments section and embarrass yourself in the process. Tim D'Annunzio seems to be the leading GOP contender in the 8th, thanks in large measure to his self-funding, but his recent foray into the comments section at the Charlotte Observer (to defend his machine-gun-shooting fundraiser) may have cast his candidacy in a decidedly amateurish light.

    OH-14: Here's a swing district that has consistently eluded Democrats, where they've finally nailed down a challenger. Retired judge Bill O'Neill is back for another whack at Rep. Steve LaTourette in the suburban 14th. O'Neill ran against LaTourette in 2008 and didn't get much traction that year, though.

    Census: Here's some good news on the redistricting front: the Census Bureau has given states the green light to decide whether to count prisons as part of the local population, or whether to count prisoners according to their previous place of residence. The Census will provide states with 'group quarters' information to help them with the process. That's an especially big deal in New York, where the legislature is considering legislation that would count prisoners by previous residence, which would decidedly tip the balance away from GOP-leaning rural areas and back toward the cities.

    Redistricting: Some bad news on redistricting, though, from South Dakota (although, with its at-large House seat, it'll really only have an impact on state legislative redistricting). A legislative committee shot down plans to switch to an independent redistricting commission. Democrats proposed the idea, and unsurprisingly, the plan died along party lines (not much incentive for the GOP to switch, as they control the trifecta and probably will for the foreseeable future).

    Dogcatcher: With Martha Coakley's announcement that she's going to attempt to run for re-election, the whole idea of getting elected dogcatcher is back on people's minds. You may recall we had an extended thread on the matter some months ago... and here's an interesting discovery. There's an actual place in America - Duxbury, Vermont - where it's an elective position. (H/t David Kowalski.) Zeb Towne's term expires in 2010, so we'll keep monitoring this race as events warrant.

    Discuss :: (55 Comments)

    FL-21, FL-25: Lincoln Diaz-Balart Will Retire, Switcheroo in the Works

    by: James L.

    Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 10:59 AM EST

    Remember this scenario? The one where Charlie Crist was supposed to tap GOP Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart to fill the seat of Sen. Mel Martinez, followed by Lincoln's brother, 25th CD Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart running for Lincoln's 21st seat in the special election?

    Looks like something like that may actually happen, only Lincoln has decided to make a straight-up retirement. From HotlineOnCall:

    Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-FL) will announce later today he will not seek another term, CongressDaily reports this morning. [...]

    The district is heavily Hispanic, thanks to Miami's large Cuban population. 73% of district residents call themselves Hispanic, while just 16% are white. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) won a narrow 51%-49% victory in the seat.

    First elected in '92, Diaz-Balart has had little trouble holding on to his seat. His brother, Mario, represents another heavily-Cuban part of Miami. CongressDaily reports that Mario Diaz-Balart will abandon his district to run in Lincoln's, which is seen as tilting more toward the GOP.

    Now, unlike the recent retirements of Republicans like Steve Buyer, Vernon Ehlers, and George Radanovich, this open seat situation could potentially yield a pair of races worth watching.

    Unlike Al Gore and John Kerry, Obama performed well in both the 21st and the 25th, picking up 49% in both districts. The 21st CD has been the stronger of the two districts historically for Republicans, and I'd expect that Mario's candidacy would be a formidable stopgap for the GOP there. But if Mario does indeed make this move, his open seat in the 25th CD, where he only won 53% in 2008, could yield an interesting race to watch if Democrats can find a solid challenger.

    UPDATE: Mario has confirmed that he'll run for his brother's seat.

    RaceTracker Wiki: FL-21 | FL-25

    Discuss :: (37 Comments)

    FL-Sen, FL-21: Diaz-Balart Won't Seek Senate Appointment

    by: James L.

    Tue Aug 18, 2009 at 1:38 AM EDT

    It was fun while it lasted:

    U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart withdrew his name for consideration to replace U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez this evening.

    Diaz-Balart issued a statement this evening saying he told Gov. Charlie Crist to remove him from the short list of three to fill in for Martinez until next year's November election.

    "I have informed Governor Charlie Crist this evening that I will not be submitting the Questionnaire for appointment to the Senate he kindly asked me to consider submitting. It was a great honor to be considered by Governor Crist for appointment to the United States Senate. [...]"

    So much for that game of political pinball that Charlie Crist was supposedly angling to rig. In other Senate appointment news, Crist is set to meet with Bobby Martinez (the former U.S. Attorney, not the ex-Governor) today, who some speculate is the real leading candidate for the appointment.

    Discuss :: (4 Comments)

    FL-Sen, FL-21, FL-25: Crist Cooking Up a Three-Way?

    by: James L.

    Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 2:59 PM EDT

    On Saturday, we wrote about the possible scenario being cooked up by Charlie Crist in order to lure Marco Rubio out of the Florida Senate primary -- namely, that Crist would appoint 21st CD Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart to the Senate as a placeholder, creating a House special election that would be hard for young Rubio to turn down. It seemed like a bit of a stretch at the time, but there are signs that this may actually be pretty serious. First, from the Miami Herald's blog:

    Supporters of U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Miami say he's seriously considering giving up his House seat to serve the rest of Mel Martinez's Senate term. Gov. Charlie Crist said Friday that he's on the shortlist.

    "To my surprise, Lincoln is seriously considering filling out the questionnaire and putting his name in the hat,'' said lobbyist/fundraiser Ana Navarro. "It's a historical opportunity where he feels he can make a difference. He is willing to lose his House seat in order to serve the state of Florida in the Senate."

    But wait, there's more! Much more, in fact. The new rumor on the blocks is that by moving up, Lincoln Diaz-Balart would leave his seat open not for Rubio, but for his younger brother, 25th District Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. The idea is that Mario is not enjoying the Dem-trending nature of his own district (it voted for McCain by 1% last year, and MDB himself only won re-election by 6%), and thinks that the 21st is more hospitable territory for the Diaz-Balart brand. I'm not so sure how wise of a move that would be -- the 21st isn't all that more GOP-friendly than the 25th; LDB's district went for McCain by 2%, but he crushed highly-touted but highly flawed Dem nominee Raul Martinez by 16 points during the same election. The theory, then, is that Marco Rubio would be free to run in the adjacent 25th District once MDB successfully swaps seats. More from the Miami Herald:

    Because Diaz-Balart's name did not surface immediately when Martinez announced he would quit, the prospect of him seeking the appointment -- and that his brother, Mario Diaz-Balart would run for his more Republican-friendly seat -- is creating political upheaval in an already topsy-turvy election cycle. That would leave Mario's seat open, possibly for former House Speaker Marco Rubio, who is considered a longshot against Crist for Senate. (Both Mario and Marco would have to move.)

    "I would urge Mario to run for the seat because of the changing demographics in his district,'' Navarro said. "It's adjacent to his district and has the same issues but has a much stronger Republican base."

    This is a pretty crazy game of pinball that Crist and the Diaz-Balarts may or may not be attempting to rig. I would have to grudgingly tip my hat to the Governor if it all fell perfectly into place, but of course, there's also the risk that something this complicated could blow up in everyone's face.

    As Samuel L. Jackson once said, hang on to yer butts.

    UPDATE: Straight from the horse's mouth:

    U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart said today he is "seriously considering" seeking the vacant U.S. Senate seat.

    RaceTracker Wiki: FL-Sen | FL-21 | FL-25

    Discuss :: (9 Comments)

    FL-Sen, FL-21: Crist Hoping to Lure Rubio into Diaz-Balart's Seat?

    by: James L.

    Sat Aug 15, 2009 at 12:45 AM EDT

    With the news that Charlie Crist has asked GOP Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart to submit his application for the state's Senate vacancy created by outgoing Sen. Mel Martinez, there has been a lot of debate over just how seriously we should be taking this news. Roll Call finds a pretty major (and clever) wrinkle in the situation -- namely, that Charlie Crist may be hoping to create a House vacancy that would be too tempting to pass down for his primary opponent, Marco Rubio:

    Some GOP insiders speculated that appointing Lincoln Diaz-Balart would create a House vacancy and special election that might be a tempting proposition for former state Speaker Marco Rubio (R), who is challenging Crist in the Senate primary. Rubio has repeatedly said he is in the Senate race to stay, but his former House district overlaps with Lincoln Diaz-Balart's 21st district.

    Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos said late Friday that his boss's efforts remain focused on only one race. "Marco Rubio is a candidate for the U.S. Senate. It's not only Washington or bust for him, it's also U.S. Senate or bust," Burgos said in an e-mailed statement.

    I have to hand it to Crist -- if his intention is to lure Rubio into another race entirely, then he certainly knows how to play chess, not checkers. And if I were Rubio, I don't think I could pass up an opportunity to have what would probably be a clear shot at a seat in Congress over an extremely tough Senate primary.

    RaceTracker Wiki: FL-Sen | FL-21

    Discuss :: (28 Comments)

    FL-Sen, FL-21: Crist Requests Three Applications For Senate Vacancy

    by: James L.

    Fri Aug 14, 2009 at 6:50 PM EDT

    Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has requested applications from three Republicans for the Senate vacancy created by the resignation of GOP Sen. Mel Martinez. One of the names under consideration, South Florida Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, should pique the interest of open seat fans. From the Palm Beach Post:

    Crist said he asked for applications this afternoon from U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, R-Miami; former U.S. Attorney Bob Martinez; and former Florida Secretary of State Jim Smith.

    "There will be others," Crist said in an interview.

    Picking Jim Smith might give Crist some headaches with the base -- Smith began his political career as a Democrat, winning two terms as the state's attorney general beginning in 1978, and lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary in 1986. He switched to the GOP a year later to accept the Secretary of State appointment, but as far as I can tell, he never built up the far-right cred needed to satisfy the Rubio crowd.

    Appointing Lincoln Diaz-Balart would certainly shake things up, creating another special election in his R+5 House district sometime this fall. Diaz-Balart most recently dispatched highly-touted but troubled Democrat (and ex-Hialeah mayor) Raul Martinez by a blow-out 58-42 margin last year, but his district has shifted dramatically from the Republican stronghold that it once was. According to SSP's analysis of the results, McCain barely edged Barack Obama by a 51-49 margin in the 21st CD last year, a big drop from the 57-43 win that Bush posted here in 2004 (and 58-42 four years earlier). I'm not sure who we have on the bench who might consider running in a special election, but it would certainly create a race with some potential.

    UPDATE: One thing we should make clear here -- the "Bob Martinez" under consideration by Crist is not the former Governor, but rather the former U.S. Attorney of the same name.

    Discuss :: (14 Comments)

    FL-21, FL-25: On Fire In Florida

    by: Crisitunity

    Tue Oct 28, 2008 at 7:09 PM EDT

    Research 2000 for Daily Kos (10/20-22, likely voters):

    Raul Martinez (D): 44
    Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-inc): 45
    (MoE: ±5%)

    Research 2000 for Daily Kos (10/20-22, likely voters, 9/23-25 in parentheses):

    Joe Garcia (D): 43 (41)
    Mario Diaz-Balart (R-inc): 46 (45)
    (MoE: ±5%)

    Two last stragglers from this weekend's poll blitz to discuss: both the South Florida races involving the Diaz-Balart brothers are almost neck-and-neck as we near the finish line. They're similar districts (the 21st is R+6, the 25th is R+4, both are more than 60% Hispanic, most of which is Cuban-American), obviously similar incumbents (Mario is the slightly more conservative one), and the challengers are similarly close.

    Raul Martinez, the former mayor of Hialeah (the population center of the 21st), is trailing Lincoln Diaz-Balart by one point. Among the 17% who've voted already, Martinez leads 55-42. While it's not surprising that the locally well-known Martinez is performing well in this one-time reliable GOP stronghold, it is very surprising that Obama is leading in this district 50-45 (and 55-42 among early voters). (Although given dramatic changes in registration numbers, maybe not that surprising.)

    In the 25th, a district which is further out in the suburbs (and includes a whole lot of empty territory in the Everglades), Joe Garcia is back by 3, a slightly closer race than one month ago, and is leading among independents 42-41 (much better than the 4-point deficit among indies last month). Of the 12% who've voted already, Garcia leads 52-46.

    Discuss :: (7 Comments)

    Dem Voter Registration Surge Continues in Key Florida Battlegrounds

    by: James L.

    Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 7:28 PM EDT

    Back in August, we crunched the voter registration numbers in nine key Florida congressional districts, and found Democrats making big gains in all of them.

    The Florida Division of Elections has just posted new numbers for each congressional district, and a quick glance confirms that the trend is continuing big time. Statewide, Democrats have added an additional 200,000 registered voters to their advantage over the GOP since July. But let's take a look at the same nine districts that we looked at in August.

    In the 2006 column, we have the GOP's voter registration advantage in each district as of October 10th, 2006. In the next column, we have the numbers as of July 28 of this year, followed by the most recent numbers (October 8).  Take a peek:

    District Oct-06 Jul-08 Oct-08
    FL-08 14,388 2,113 9,243
    FL-18 23,202 8,456 1,730
    FL-25 21,818 7,857 3,364
    FL-21 28,146 14,999 10,543
    FL-24 32,310 23,263 14,333
    FL-16 31,228 21,201 16,286
    FL-15 31,509 22,153 16,569
    FL-09 33,956 28,614 24,952
    FL-13 62,230 55,542 51,933

    Wow -- for the first time, Democrats now have a partisan advantage in the 8th District, where Democrat Alan Grayson is taking on GOP crumb-bum Ric Keller. Keller is locked in the fight of his political life, and these numbers prove it.

    While two of these districts are pretty much off the map in terms of realistic Democratic pick-up opportunities (the 9th CD and the open seat dud in the 15th), the other huge shift can be seen in South Florida, where Democrats are waging tough fights against the Diaz-Balart brothers (the 21st and 25th CDs) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in the 18th District. For years, these districts were seen as Republican strongholds, but now, Democrats have chipped away significantly at the GOP's edge.

    Democrats have even made up a lot of ground in the 16th District; it's just too bad that disgraced Rep. Tim Mahoney has squandered it all.

    Full raw numbers for all of these districts are available below the fold.

    There's More... :: (26 Comments, 234 words in story)

    FL-21: Indicted Puerto Rican Senator Says He Gave Suitcase Full of Cash to Diaz-Balart

    by: James L.

    Wed Oct 08, 2008 at 5:52 PM EDT

    From the Miami-Herald blog:

    Now things are really heating up! Raul Martinez and state Democrats at a Miami press conference today looked to tie Lincoln Diaz-Balart to Puerto Rican senator Jorge de Castro Font, who was arrested by the FBI.

    Dems charge that de Castro Font has "implicated" Diaz-Balart by alleging to "have traveled to Miami with Congressman Luis Fortuño of Puerto Rico to deliver a suitcase full of cash for Diaz-Balart's re-election campaign." The money was allegedly from a prominent PR family. [...]

    De Castro Font in an interview with a PR TV station, said the alleged trip took place in 2005 -- long before Diaz-Balart's challenge from Martinez. De Castro Font has been indicted by a federal grand jury on 31 criminal counts including bribery, wire fraud and money laundering. He's also peeved that Fortuño has tried to distance himself from him since the scandal broke, and even tried to remove him from the November ballot. Fortuño is running for governor, and de Castro Font seeks reelection.

    The Florida Democratic Party has more:

    In an interview with WAPA TV in Puerto Rico, De Castro Font stated:

    "I am not going to remain quiet.  I am here talking with you. If I was quiet . . . just the other day I said that ...to ask him ... Luis Fortuño said the other day that he was never with me that he has not seen me in four years. Ask him if he went with me to deliver money to Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Miami . We sat together in first class."

    In a separate WAPA 680AM radio interview in Puerto Rico, De Castro Font stated:

    "I traveled with him [Luis Fortuño] to Miami to give money to a U.S. Congressman. He didn't tell me anything else. Ask him when you interview him if he went to take money to Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart sitting with me in First Class on American Airlines."

    My friends, this is sleaze that I can believe in. Remember, this isn't the first time that Diaz-Balart has engaged in illegal campaign financing. In July 2001, he paid a hefty $30,000 fine for accepting excessive contributions in past campaigns. Perhaps this will be Diaz-Balart's last campaign for a while.

    SSP currently rates this race as a Tossup.

    Discuss :: (12 Comments)
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